[Chapter 2] Build Customer Bonds with Care: Turn Traffic into Leads Before Cyber Monday

Hey! This post is part of a larger series geared toward helping ecommerce sellers understand, engage with, and love more customers this holiday season. After all, that’s exactly what the holidays are about, right?

Just tuning in? Don’t sweat it! Get your own free copy of our entire 70-page holiday ebook, Rethinking Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

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The most important part of your holiday selling campaign isn’t the goods donning your digital shelves or whether or not you offer 2-day shipping. The truth is, your products or deals just won’t matter unless you find people to share it all with. But how can you turn passive passersby into curious customers?

Now that Chapter 1 of this holiday series has inspired you to make your store stand out from the crowd, let’s get to work on finding that crowd. Without ‘em, there won’t be anyone to build a relationship with, send emails to, show products they’ll love, and become a loyal customer. 

The first step to building up customer love and serious brand loyalty is starting the conversation between your store and your people. Most of the time, these conversations start in the inbox, and the only way to get there is with their email address. Chapter Two of our Holiday Series focuses on turning traffic into leads for all your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing campaigns.

Ready to go, ho, ho?

How to Turn Passive People into Intrigued Shoppers

Acquiring new customers isn’t a unique challenge across ecommerce stores. Selling online is hot stuff, and the industry is projected to have 2.14 billion shoppers by 2021 (in other words, roughly 25% of the people on the planet will be shopping online. No big deal).

That’s a lot of people potentially searching and scrolling and clicking across your ecommerce store. But once people cross your brand, how are you ensuring you can reach them again? How can you start the conversation and kindle a customer bond like never before? Most importantly, how can you turn all those passive eyeballs into engaged customers-to-be before the holidays shimmy down the chimney?

There are a lot of solutions that help ecommerce sellers acquire new customers, but finding the right tool that fits your resources can be a challenge. To help you start connecting with traffic in time for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns, let’s dig into the big wide world of lead generation for ecommerce stores.

Setting up the Perfect Lead Generation Strategy for the Holiday Season

There are a lot of lead generation tools that range in cost, simplicity, and user-friendliness. They vary in complexity from easy-to-create popups to more time-intensive mini sites, but each of these will help your ecommerce store gather email addresses today so that you can keep the customer relationship going tomorrow (and all the tomorrows after that).

Lead Gen Cornerstone: Popup Boxes

Also known as lightbox popups or popup opt-in forms, these li’l boxes are the short forms that literally pop up on your screen and have one goal: collect site visitor information. These are gateways to the @ symbol, which is exactly what you need to start understanding, reaching, and engaging folks who come by your online store. These forms are also the foundation to a few of the following strategies, and they can have a lot of impact depending on the context they’re surrounded by.

The average popup form has a 3.1% conversion rate (while the top-performing 10% of popups tote an impressive 9.3% conversion rate). They’re versatile in their design and have the ability to collect a little or a lot of information depending on their placement and your goals.

Pop-Up Conversion RatesThanks for the data, Sumo.com!

Opt-in forms are built into Drip Ecommerce CRM, so online sellers can stand up one quickly without worrying about any integration issues. However, should you choose to build popup forms with any number of platforms like Leadpages, Sumo, or Instapage, those will do the trick, too. 

There are a few elements to consider when it comes to making a popup box, such as:

  • Timing. Will your form show up as soon as someone lands on a page, a few seconds after, or only when they try to exit the page? We recommend giving your visitors enough time to read the page they landed on and familiarize themselves with your brand before asking them to dish out info, so always opt for a timed or exit-intent popup instead of one that appears as soon as the page opens.

    This popup appears 15 seconds after someone has landed on the webpage about the ebook being offered. By giving people enough time to become curious about the ebook, this form converts at a huge 38.4%.

  • Design. Keep your popup forms aligned with the rest of your brand. You don’t want it to feel like a disparate or untrustworthy box just hanging out on your site, phishing for info from innocent shoppers. By keeping the design, voice, and offer aligned with the rest of your site, you’ll ensure there’s a trusting and consistent experience for all. Also, ensure your buttons and copy are legible. 

  • Copy. While there isn’t a ton of copy real estate on popup forms, the select words you write will have a huge impact on conversion. Be transparent, honest, concise, and personable in your headline and body copy. Tell people exactly what they’ll get in exchange for their email addy, and you’ll have already scored serious trust points when you deliver on your promise.

  • Questions. Limit the number of questions you ask people. You’re just getting to know each other, and they’re not going to want to hand over all their details just yet. Resist the urge to collect more than three bits of information; at a minimum, always ask for the email address. 

  • Placement. Want your form to be discreet or front-and-center? Furthermore, is this popup form present on every site page or just a select few? Placing your forms in the right context can have a huge impact on your conversion rates and bottom line. For example, offer a discount for a specific product on that product’s page instead of sitewide.

  • Reward. What’s in it for the visitor? Most people won’t just hand over their information for the sake of giving a stranger their email address. Consider what the benefit of opting in is for people. Is it an ebook? An exclusive freebie? A little discount just for them? Get creative.

  • Test and optimize. With any and all of these popup characteristics, it’s a good idea to test them. How much copy resonates better with your crowd? Do people convert more when the form is triggered by time or exit intent? Do people click the blue button or the red button more? All of these are split tests you can run in Drip to help ensure you have a continuously optimized form that’ll capture as many email addresses as possible. 

Popup forms can be powerful when shown in the right place and time. When you add forms to your online shop, you’re adding immense opportunity to understand your customers and build better relationships with them.

By building your audience now, you’ll find yourself with an engaged crowd of people who want to hear all about your next Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns. Check out where popups come into play. 

Newsletter Signup

Most ecommerce stores offer a newsletter as a means to spread the word about storewide promotions, events, news, posts, and hot products. When offering a newsletter, make sure to set clear expectations about how often people will receive them and what they’ll be about. For example, ask people to sign up for a weekly newsletter about new products in your store.  

Reallygoodemails.com has a great newsletter signup  for lead generation

Really Good Emails has a no-nonsense, to-the-point popup to entice people to subscribe to their newsletter. RGE lays out what they send and how often, 'cause people trust transparency.

Lead Magnets and Gated Content

Also taking advantage of the ease and efficiency of popup boxes are lead magnets and gated content. This strategy involves creating a piece of content that’s only fully available to someone when they submit a form. Intrigue people with a few seconds of a video or first chapter of your ebook, then ask for their email address in exchange for the rest of the piece.

This play can garner conversion rates upwards of 50%, which could be huge for building your audience before BFCM. Consider creating some interesting how-to or inspiration videos for your products, or even tease the beginnings of an unboxing or new product release. Get people hyped for what’s beyond the opt-in form, and your list will grow as a result. 

Medium.com gated content popup

Medium lets visitors read three stories per month, then this popup insists people sign up for an account in order to read more sweet, sweet content.

Notification Bars

Floating notification bars, such as a Hello Bar, are the slim colorful boxes you’ve seen sitting at the top of a website. They’re unobtrusive, so they don’t totally disrupt someone’s shopping experience, but savvy shoppers know to look for them. Hello Bars are a prime place to put offers like free shipping or special discounts. When folks click, direct them to a form or landing page to collect their email address before handing out the goods. 

If sending folks to a separate form isn’t in your plans, consider adding an email field directly inside the bar for one-step convenience. 

Backcountry has a hellobar at the top of their homepage

Backcountry uses a notification bar planted at the top of their home page to gather email addresses in exchange for 20% off first-time orders.


Chatbots provide a human element to your ecommerce site. The folks at Drift have been spearheading the conversational marketing category, and having an encounter with a chatbot is a practically universal experience on the web these days.

Chatbots aim to enhance customer experiences; 35% of consumers rely on them to resolve problems, 22% use them for purchase inspiration, and more than one-fourth of shoppers actually buy directly from bots. What’s more is that 95% of consumers believe chatbots are the future of customer service—when done well. 

If you set up a chatbot to field questions and resolve issues on your site, use it as an opportunity to get to know your customers better. Ask for an email address before the chat starts so that you can keep the conversation going in the inbox, remember them when they come back to your site, and have a feel for their interests when it comes to holiday campaigns.

Bonobos homepage with a chatbot asking for an email address

Before the chat gets started, Bonobos uses a chatbot to ask for a little information so they can get to know the people they're talking with.

Loyalty Program

Getting access to a shopper’s inbox is the best way to do exactly as this specific strategy implies—create customer loyalty. Any consumer, online or otherwise, is familiar with the concept of loyalty or rewards programs. 

Sixty-nine percent of consumers say that the presence of a loyalty program influences their shopping decisions. And when it comes to millennials and Gen Z shoppers, they won’t even commit to a brand without a rewards program in place. Whether it’s by way of a punch card, collecting points, earning miles, or another rendition of rewarding people, this is a great idea for an ecommerce brand hoping to establish a following. 

Ask for an email address for entry, and Drip Ecommerce CRM can track how often someone takes an action. For example, if you want to reward someone for every fifth purchase, you can create automations that trigger emails outfitted with dynamic discount codes as their thank you.

Rewards programs take a little planning and workflow crafting—for example, you'll have to come up with what the method will be, what the reward tiers are, and a branded page and program—but they go the extra mile when it comes to rewarding and appreciating your customers. 

Screenshot of Starbucks Rewards page

Starbucks Rewards empowers customers to earn stars and redeem them for drinks and food. With each email addy they gather from this program, they can learn more about each customer, like what they drink, what they eat, and how often they come by.

Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ads make capturing email addresses while people scroll their feed slicker than ever. Lead Ads collect information within the ad. Traditional Facebook ads guide people to a website or landing page and someone may subscribe to something wherever they land. 

Facebook Lead Ads typically see a conversion rate of 12.54% compared with the 9.21% average conversion rate of Facebook ads. Write Lead Ads with clear CTAs, tempting offers or lead magnets, and as few fields as you need on the form. (Ideally, landing just their email address is enough to help the customer experience flourish, and additional information can be asked for as trust is established.)

This tactic is about placing your ecommerce brand in a high-traffic area while reducing as much friction as possible when it comes time to converting.

Example of a well-executed Facebook lead ad on sprout24.com

This example of a Facebook Lead Ad seamlessly enables someone to subscribe without ever leaving Facebook. You may have 99 problems, but friction isn't one.

Landing Pages / Mini Sites

Landing pages are standalone web pages that, unlike your ecommerce website, have one purpose—generate a lead. They’re simple, succinct, and without things like navigation bars, they don’t have much to distract people who land on them. They’re a great way to present your brand while engaging people with one clear CTA.

If you’re sending traffic from ads or organic clicks to your home page, you could be missing out on people giving you their email address. They may start clicking around, shopping, and searching. But if they never see a place to sign up for your newsletter, rewards program, or new-customer discount, you might never get to know them more.

However, landing pages clear the confusion. Whether the landing page is for a specific product, online course, or coupon club, the focus is clear—get something in return for an email address. 

Leadpages landing page for a 14-day free trial

No nav, one clear CTA—this landing page to start a free trial of Leadpages makes handing over my email address a no-brainer.

Conversational Content

Conversational Content is a rookie to the ecommerce marketing roster, but it’s already quite the blue-chipper. A newer concept (also introduced by Drift), it bridges the world of content marketing with chatbots in order to start conversations with people about what they’re reading in real time. 

The potential for customer engagement is sky-high and shows an investment in people by your brand. Conversational Content is akin to a storeowner asking what they can help you with while you cruise the aisles at any brick-and-mortar shop. Consider writing compelling, useful, or intriguing content to use in tandem with this tool, and you could see new subscribers pouring in before the holiday shopping starts.

Conversational Content by Drift

On the left, you'll see an intriguing piece of content. On the right, you'll see a chatbot ready to field questions, enhance engagement, and grab an email address.

Warm up Your Cold Traffic in Time for the Holidays

No matter which lead generation strategy you choose, the goal should remain the same—get to know the people coming by your store so that you can start building a bond. If your ecommerce campaigns come off as cold, robotic, and uncaring, odds are good that no one is going to want to give you their email address, and you’ll be left with holiday campaigns that go to nobody.

On the flip side, if your campaigns or offerings are genuine, authentic, and rewarding, you’ll have a long list of people who want to get to know more about your brand and offerings. The sooner you can start emailing people, the sooner you can start establishing trust, loyalty, and experiences that enhance the ecommerce-to-human relationship. 

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